Email and Search: A Powerful Combination

Most of us know email is a critical component of any marketing campaign. Rated by Internet users as their most important online activity, email is incredibly effective as a promotional delivery vehicle to ignite the fuse that leads a buyer through the initial phases of the sales cycle.

Promotional email often includes links to your site for more information about products and services. Once users land on your site, what happens if they don’t find what they seek? Are you letting them get away? You could be, if you’re not using the power of the second most important Web activity: search.

When motivated buyers become distressed, the search box is the first feature they look for. For optimal sales, harness the significant advantages of uniting email and site search. With the holiday season ahead, synchronicity between these two key activities could be vital to sales.

Usage trends reveal an unequivocal link between email and search. A recent DoubleClick consumer email study concludes email motivates consumers to purchase on- and offline. Two-thirds of online shoppers plan to use email to purchase this holiday season. Make sure you’re in the running.

Consider that 80 to 90 percent of Internet users are searchers, not browsers. Rest assured these searchers will not only utilize direct links from your email to locate information but will also seek out and use that little search box to find more about what you offer.

Jupiter Research (a unit of ClickZ’s parent corporation) surveys show 80 percent of online users abandon a site if search functionality is poor. Until recently, search engines relied largely on the savviness of the user and content of individual Web sites. Few search engine tools are affordable for most businesses. Even fewer offer any kind of customization control. New technology is delivering more relevant search results and can make your email marketing efforts more profitable.

We’ve discovered software developers building custom search engines for Web sites that promote brand building, user retention, and profit. Vortaloptics is an example of a marketing-oriented search provider that gives you control over search rankings and keywords. Once your data is crawled and categorized, you can shape search results to produce a desired outcome. Intelligence gained from behavioral statistics helps you satisfy users’ most frequent inquiries. If you don’t have what they’re looking for, you can enter an affiliate who does. The idea is to amalgamate your marketing with your Web site to turn searches into sales.

Seek a search technology you can control. You control email communications, incentives, your site, and your brand. Why not control your search results? Complex algorithms don’t always understand a new, time-sensitive offer you only want your best customers to see. Controllable search technology can. Just type in the keyword, add the new page, and determine where in the results you want it to appear, and you’ve just created a powerful link between marketing and your site. Your customers’ brand loyalty deepens when they receive relevant, informative results.

For those lacking time to adjust search engine programs, adding four simple words in the search box is all it takes to get a customer’s attention: “Type in keyword: X.” Piquing curiosity stimulates site traffic, promotes more search inquiries, and increases sales.

Keep crafting those high-impact emails — but don’t forget search.

For more information, questions, comments, or any other feedback, please feel free to drop me a line or two. Cheers!

Barry will speak at ClickZ Email Strategies in San Francisco, November 18-19.

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